Geneva auto show canceled for 2021

The Geneva auto show will not be held in 2021, the organizers have announced.

The reasons for the cancellation were lack of interest from automakers as well as the uncertain situation over the control of the coronavirus, the Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) Foundation said in a statement on Monday.

The Geneva event is Europe’s only major international auto show to be held annually. This year’s event was due to take place in March but was canceled just days before opening as the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic became clear.

“A majority of GIMS exhibitors who took part in a survey stated that they would probably not participate in a 2021 edition and that they would prefer to have a GIMS in 2022,” the foundation said in the statement.

A 2022 show was not confirmed.

Holding the show next year without automaker support might kill it off for good, GIMS Director General Sandro Mesquita told Automotive News Europe in an interview in May.

“If we have a cancellation again next year it would just be a catastrophe for us, so we need to take into account what the brands are saying, because without the brands there would not be a show,” he said. “It’s important that the next show is good one and not a small, reduced one.”

The GIMS Foundation’s position put it in conflict with the local Geneva state authority, which offered a loan on the condition that the show was held in 2021. The show is the largest event held in Switzerland and generates about 200 million francs ($206 million) in income for the city, the authorities said.

The GIMS Foundation rejected the loan because it considered “inadmissible that one condition of the loan is that an event has to be organized in 2021.”

Instead, the foundation said it had decide to sell the auto show to the Palexpo conference center in Geneva where the event is held.

“The aim is to find a solution that will ensure the regular organization of an international motor show in Geneva,” GIMS said.

The show represents a third of the value of Palexpo, the Geneva state authority has said.

One of the purposes of the loan was to repay fees to automakers that had paid in advance to attend this year’s event, Mesquita said in May. It’s not clear whether that money will now be repaid.